Photography Phebe Schmidt

10 things you need to know about Melbourne’s emo popstar, daine

Shaped by her local hardcore scene, this 17-year-old innovator is one to watch.

by Frankie Dunn
30 July 2020, 4:18pm

Photography Phebe Schmidt

Why feel better when you can wallow in beautiful, melodic emo music instead? 17-year-old Filipino-Australian artist daine (named after her great-grandfather) feels the same (we assume). Deeply inspired by the early 00s Midwestern emo movement, and the Melbourne hardcore scene that adopted her in her early teens, daine channels her introversion into diary-like lyrics set to dark trap-leaning production by Circle Pitt.

Her debut single "Picking Flowers" came out in May and won us over completely with a video that's a bit like the patronus scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, only with less Death Eaters, a CGI daine and a way better score (no offence, multiple Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer John Williams). daine sings about her demons and astral projecting over a hypnotic looped guitar riff, ultimately floating high above the pines like the end scene of Robert Eggers’s The Witch.

Last week, daine gifted us brand new track "My Way Out”. “I wrote it after a really lonely day at school, having gone to a party the weekend before that also made me feel pretty isolated,” she tells i-D. “In essence, I wrote the track about feeling invisible and then using that as motivation to escape it all through focusing on music, reinventing myself in positive ways. It’s okay if socialising isn’t your thing.” The song is accompanied by lo-fi visuals that zoom right in on daine’s neighbourhood from space courtesy of Google Maps. We stan an innovative queen. “It wasn’t an ideal situation,” she says, “but my city is still in lockdown. I put together some ethereal clips from my bedroom and backyard, and then Augustin Vita edited it to look incredible. I was hugely into the idea of sparkles and datamoshing.”

1. daine wrote her first proper song just two years ago, aged 15
“It was called ‘Ascension’ and I’m sure some people still remember it and could find it somewhere. It sounded really DIY and sad. I really like the lyrics and melodies so I’m in the process of reworking it for rerelease!”

2. But it was wanting to be better than the boys in guitar class that motivated her
“My parents enrolled me in group guitar lessons when I was six or seven. It gave me a lot of motivation to be better than boys because I was the only girl in the class and I got made fun of. It was still fun though, and the start of me wanting to make music.”

3. Her music was born from heartbreak. So thanks to whoever did that to her tbh
“I was just writing a bunch of stuff to make myself feel better. I reached out to Circle Pitt on Instagram, sent him some riffs which he turned into beats, I sent back vocals and we ended up creating like five pretty solid songs that month.”

4. She’s obsessed with Midwestern emo
“I think it’s mainly nostalgic for me. It’s what I’ve predominantly listened to for my entire adolescence. It makes my life feel like a coming-of-age movie… but maybe all genres can do that. Midwestern emo is definitely special though, it’s like, almost extinct.”

5. Like many of us, she’s struggling a little in lockdown
“Melbourne is still in lockdown, so I feel empty. I’m sure a lot of people are in fight or flight mode during the pandemic. Life is so unpredictable and we’re all so focused on survival right now that emotions aren’t really in the picture as much. Creativity is replaced by emptiness.”

6. Her hometown’s hardcore and metal scene shaped her
“It peaked when I was around 13, but it meant a lot for me growing up. It helped me build confidence especially. As a young girl, you’re taught to be timid and insecure but the hardcore scene really threw that out the window for me. I was welcomed for mic grabs and in the mosh. It felt like such a safe space for women. I was immersed in a highly political music scene where feminism, veganism and straight edge culture were at the forefront. I owe the Melb hardcore scene for keeping me away from drugs when I was younger and motivating me to go vegan at 13. I haven’t turned back.”

7. The fictional character daine most relates to is a precognitive vampire 
“It’s Alice from Twilight, honestly. I just feel like we probably have similar personalities. She seems weird.”

8. Apparently it’s not all that strange having a CGI version of yourself floating about
“It surprisingly feels really normal and I genuinely prefer it to seeing a regular photo or video of myself.”

9. And contrary to what you might assume, she’s not actually that into gaming
“I’m not a huge gamer but whilst in lockdown I completed Breath of the Wild on my switch. And also played a bunch of Animal Crossing. I’m bored now.”

10. daine has a Big Plan that we can, and should, all get behind
“Encourage acceptance of negative emotions and overall raise the vibrational frequency of the planet.”

10 things